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Blue Devils can clinch ACC title Sunday

Last time Maryland and Duke met, the Terrapin post players were no match for the mighty Blue Devils, and Duke exploited the mismatch. The Blue Devils pulled down 21 offensive rebounds, resulting in 26 second-chance points, and muscled their way to a 36-6 scoring advantage in the paint.

  

        Not surprisingly, Duke nearly doubled-up Maryland with a 101-52 victory January 22nd.

  

        The Blue Devils (21-3, 12-1 in the ACC) hope to repeat the performance when they travel to College Park Sunday for a second matchup with Maryland (15-10, 7-7). The game, initially scheduled for 4 p.m., has been moved to noon and will air on ESPN2.

  

        A win against the Terps would secure the Blue Devils' third-consecutive ACC regular-season title. Head coach Gail Goestenkors' team has already grabbed the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament after defeating Virginia 87-54 at home Thursday night.

  

        On the offensive end, Maryland is led by a pair of freshmen, Shay Doron and Kalika France, who averaged 13.0 and 11.7 points per game respectively. While the duo has paced the Terrapins, second-year head coach Brenda Frese nonetheless lacks a go-to player when the game comes down to the final minutes. Duke, after going to the Final Four the previous two seasons, holds the advantage if this contest happens to go down to the wire.

  

        Maryland's offensive strength is on the perimeter, but the Blue Devils have the athletic, defensive-minded guards to stymie the Terps, as they did in the January meeting. Frese's team shoots well from behind the three-point line, led by Alli Spence who has hit half of her shots from behind the arc this season.

  

        On the free-throw line, Maryland may be able to make up some ground on the Blue Devils if Duke puts its opponent into the bonus early. The team shoots .718 from the line, tops in the conference.

  

        Duke marshaled 101 points the last time the teams met, exploiting the Terps' soft interior defense. The versatile Iciss Tillis will likely prove a difficult challenge again for Maryland, which has the fifth-ranked scoring defense in ACC play.

  

        The Terps allowed North Carolina to post 79 points, including 44 in the second half, in a 79-64 loss Thursday night.

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